Friday, 22 November 2013

Red in Winter

Lovely to see a splash of red to warm up a chilly winter day!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Elastic Wonder

I went to knitting club earlier this week and forgot to take my accessories
bag. I soon realised that I needed a couple of stitchmarkers to mark the position of the thumb gusset increases in the fingerless mitt I was knitting. 


I searched around in my handbag and found a couple of hair bobbles; I have these in every bag I own as both my daughters and I have long hair. Solution! They made great temporary stitchmarkers.

Reminds me of the Machete Elastic Wonder from the Spy Kids film. :)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Dyers delight

The dye pot never ceases to amaze me.

This shows one dye lot - the same dye put onto a merino blend yarn (seen around the edge of the pot) and an alpaca yarn (see in the centre of the pot). 

The yarns take up the dye in a completely different way, giving entirely different-looking results, both beautiful.

I love dyeing yarns!

Friday, 6 September 2013

New pattern - Pompom Boot Toppers

Just released - my latest pattern which is for Pompom Boot Toppers!

This is an easy knitting pattern which uses a single 100gram skein of aran-weight Perran Yarn - shown in Merino Fleck Aran in shade 'Blackcurrant Sorbet' but any aran-weight yarn with the required yardage will work.

Which way do you prefer your pompoms - at the front, back or sides?!

Priced at just £2, the pattern is available in my Ravelry store, and you can also buy it here!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Moment of clarity

Today I had a moment of clarity. Or as Homer Simpson would say 'Doh!'...


I was sitting quietly in my car during my lunch break, knitting a new design (coming soon!). There was a gentle breeze from the open windows, and the soft clicking of my needles combined with the warmth of the day was relaxing and soothing.

Thoughts about various articles I'd read from this week's Etsy Mentor Month topics were drifting around my head, and something slotted into place. It seemed so obvious, but had eluded me up to now.

Moments like this are rare; times when you can sit quietly and let your mind ponder issues and questions without interruption. In our frenetic daily lives packed full of time-saving devices which result in more and more being crammed into each day, a moment of clarity is like a ray of sunshine bursting through a cloud-filled sky.

Plus it shows how therapeutic knitting can be, in all sorts of ways.

Now to put the obvious into action!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Berry tasty

We have been making the most of our newly-acquired japanese wineberry bushes lately, so pleased with them!

I'm picking berries every few days and this morning's crop (teamed with some blackberries from a few carefully saved brambles) made a fantastic accompaniment to an oat granola and honey breakfast. 

Delicious!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Anyone home?

Oh dear, badly neglected blog syndrome. Where did the last month go?!

It seems that summer holidays, friends and family visiting, changing jobs and preparing for the forthcoming cooler seasons may have got in the way of blogging. Funny that.

Anyway here's the latest Perran Yarn news - sparkly sock yarns for twinkly toes!
Pumpkin Pie

Night Sky

Oasis

Monday, 1 July 2013

It's Christmas in July!

That's right, the whole of July is celebration time! Use discount code CIJUK10 to get 10% discount on ALL orders over £5 from my Etsy shop

Stock up on your birthday and Christmas shopping with great deals from lots of UK Etsy sellers taking part in this promotion.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Friday, 28 June 2013

DIY crochet jewellery

Last month I started selling my wrap necklace kits at Heartlands. I was pleased to find that they were very popular! 

I'm now listing them in my Etsy shop. It's a slow process as each one is different, but it means every finished necklace is unique too.

I LOVE making these kits up - it means I get to sort through my thread and bead stash - for a reason. I like that.

The kits include a mini-skein of hand-dyed cotton perle thread, assorted coordinating beads, and instructions.

Just add a 2mm or 2.5mm hook, a little time, and get a great piece of jewellery as a result!

If you're looking for a particular colourway let me know, and I'll see if I can make up a custom kit just for you.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Delicious



So happy to have my Perran Yarn included in this fabulous summer treasury!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Amigurumi

Just started my first ever amigurumi crochet project courtesy of Simply Crochet

Both daughters ooh-ing and aah-ing over the sweet little Tako-Yaki teddy duo, so how could I refuse?

Even found the perfect shade of Rowan 4ply Soft lurking in my project bag right next to my chair. It's destiny.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Great British Etsy Craft Party 2013

Oops, it's been a while! So what better way to break radio silence than to show you my contribution to the Great British Etsy Craft Party 2013 which is being held TODAY all over the UK.

I have done some patchwork quilting in my pre-blogging days, and still have a small stash of fabric left. There are some pieces that I just couldn't bear to give away!

For the bunting flags we needed red, white or blue fabric, so here's what I chose. My rotary cutter & mat still work well!
I literally dusted off my trusty Janome sewing machine and sewed up the sides of the 2 flags.

The fabric is a lovely tie-dye design but it has it's own mind when under the machine foot!
All finished, ends trimmed & poked through with a chopstick, as instructed!

I'm leaving them plain as I love the fabric design as it is, and some plain flags are needed anyway.

Now to find out where to send them on to for sewing into bunting!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

4KCBWDAY7 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 7 - Looking Forward

'One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?'

Hmm, where do we go from here? 

Well I am hoping to set up my own Perran Yarns website in the near future. I am planning to do this in collaboration with my husband so I can learn more of the technical web setup too. Who knows where that will lead!

Within my crafts, I'd like to do more with crochet motifs including publishing some patterns. Also I hope to create more patterns for my own yarns, and I'd love to do some collaborations with other local crafters - maybe create kits including their buttons, kit bags, my yarn & pattern, that kind of thing.

We'll see how far all of that has got in 12 months time!

How about you?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

4KCBWDAY6 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 6 – A Tool To Covet

Like a lots of knitters, I hate sewing up knitting. I much prefer to knit in the round; no seam to sew up, no seam ridge on the inside of the item, win win.

Over the years I've built up a good stock of Addi Turbo circular needles, which I love. They're smooth, the cables don't twist too much, and they feel good to knit with.

KnitPro Symfonie Rose
At knitting club I've noticed there is a love for the interchangeable needle sets such as this lovely KnitPro set. It's beautiful, and very handy if you just have one or two projects on the go. 

However I'm in the House of Bee, and I usually have lots of projects at various stages. The knitting sets come with several cables but just one set of each needle size. There's my problem. 
I'm sure you can purchase extra sets of needle tips, but they may not fit into that gorgeous case. 


These needle sets seem to me to be a great investment for a new knitter, who wants to increase their needle stocks. However having already invested a similar amount of funds in my existing needle stash, I'll stick to my trusty Addi Turbos.

Friday, 26 April 2013

4KCBWDAY5 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 5 – Something A Bit Different

'It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog.'

OK so let's try some verse and rhyme..


You know that I love to crochet and knit
It’s way more productive than just to sit
If not I would chew my nails and eat
Far too much.

My favourite yarns are wool and cotton
Though silk and bamboo should not be forgotten
Baby alpaca can be a real treat
Now and then.

I’d love to crochet and knit all day
How else would I use up the yarn, you say?
I could cross stitch a cushion so very neat
Or not.

And that's more than enough!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

4KCBWDAY4 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 4 – Colour Review

Colour, I just love it!
Juicy

I guess if I'm making for myself then I would go for warm tones - reds, plums, oranges, pinks, purples, and neutrals like sand with chestnut brown rather than black.

However as the majority of 'makes' are for my Etsy shop rather than myself at the moment, literally anything goes!

As a yarn dyer I love graduations of colour, whether it's a semi-solid single shade or a riot of colours together. The tones and hues that come out of the dye pot fascinate - and often surprise me.


Barley Fields
For example I used to say I wasn't keen on yellow, but for the sake of completeness I dyed a multi-tonal batch of yellow DK merino for my shop. 
Sweet Chestnut

Wow was I amazed - I loved it! It reminded me of the fields ready for harvesting on my uncle's farm, and is one of my favourite dye lots to date.


Another favourite is this 'Sweet Chestnut' yarn. The amount of brown, bronze, and caramel shades is just incredible; I could gaze it it for hours!


Then of course we have my most current listing - the glamorous gleaming pure silk DK. So luxurious, this was a pleasure to work with. I love the soft blue, closest to 'Grayed Jade' in the latest season Pantone colour report.

How is all this linked to my House - the House of Bee? Well I guess bees are attracted to flowers of any colour!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

4KCBWDAY3 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 3 – Infographic

Eeuugghh! This post theme has given me the most trouble by far. I've been wracking my brain for 2 days trying to think of what I could base an infographic on, without so much as a sniff of inspiration.

In the end, I chose the 2013 Q1 sales figures from my Etsy shop, just so I would have something to show you.





I guess Supplies are high up the shopping list at this time of year! Interesting to see that crochet items are far outselling knitwear currently too; maybe as crochet is starting to make a strong show in the new season's high street fashion:
Fat Face Crochet Shrug
Joe Browns Fun Flower Crochet Purse


Crochet Pram Shoes

So great to see it out there!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

4KCBWDAY2 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 2 – A Mascot Project

Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that your house/animal.

After much deliberation I have chosen my Honey Gold Button Cowl as my mascot project. 
Not an easy decision but one which encompasses a true journey, as well as signifying the yellow and black colours from my House of Bee (see yesterday's post)!

Since moving to Cornwall I have become a great advocate of cowls. 
They are far more practical than a regular scarf for a walk on a windy beach (inspired by our local Perranporth beach!), and equally as useful for saving money at home on a chilly day; wrapping your neck in a little luxury soon makes you feel much warmer and is infinitely cheaper in the long run than turning the central heating up.

Cowls with a fastening have a couple of advantages over the pull-on type:
  1. They can be worn in different ways; always a bonus to ring the changes
  2. They don’t mess up your hair; a windy beach manages that supremely without assistance.
This particular button cowl is my own design which originated from treating myself to a delicious skein of chunky cream Mirasol Sulka wool/alpaca/silk blend yarn from a Hejhog sale.

As usual I had no idea what I would use it for, but I knew the yarn would let me know. As I caressed the skein, a vision of a cosy little neck wrap burrowed into my brain. I browsed through my well-used stitch dictionaries and decided on Tassel Stitch – a textured pattern with the interest of a cabled effect but none of the extra-needle palaver.

I knitted the cowl, jotting down stitch and row counts along the way, and added a simple crochet buttonhole edging, ending up with 3cm of yarn to sew in! Absolutely nothing wasted. I finished the cowl off with a couple of large organic mother-of-pearl buttons purchased from Etsy seller Overspill. Perfect!

The pattern is now available in my Etsy shop as an instant download pattern or a kit with the Mirasol Sulka yarn.

I realised that the chunky baby alpaca yarn that I had hand-dyed was identical in metreage and weight. I had dyed a semi-solid Honey Gold as per the Pantone season colours, which I knew would compliment the pattern without drowning out the stitch texture. I knitted up the cowl and finished it off with handmade buttons in perfectly co-ordinating colours from Etsy seller PixiesDesign.

The button cowl is available to buy in my Etsy shop as a one-off, or you can purchase the chunky baby alpaca in a different colourway to use with the pattern
If you don’t see a colour that you like, let me know and I will hand-dye your own version for you at no extra cost!

Monday, 22 April 2013

4KCBWDAY1 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 1 – The House Cup


The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

This is the only choice for me! I always like to have a selection of projects on the go, partly because I can’t resist starting new yarns and partly so that I have a fit-for-purpose project available at all times. That’s my excuse anyway.

I absolutely hate finding myself waiting somewhere without a project to hand – what a waste of valuable crafting time! I have way too little planned crafting time available so squeezing in a few more minutes here and there not only soothes my soul but also increases my creative productivity. There are 3 basic project types:

The Fly-By: A mini project that can be grabbed & remorselessly stuffed into a bag on my way out, it can be paused & resumed in seconds with minimal fuss. This type of project tends to be a small crochet item that doesn’t require a pattern once started such as motifs, washcloths, hairbands, etc. It’s the bite-size treat that’s perfect for beach trips and waiting rooms.

The Staple Diet: Something requiring larger amounts of fairly plain work, to make use of longer chunks of time where taking an extra minute or two to finish off a row/round is perfectly acceptable, although still easily transported. It can be crochet or knitting (mainly on circular needles), such as a scarf, mitts, hat, sock, etc. This little beauty is great for longer car journeys (passenger only!), knitting/crochet club, and film night.

The Mothership: Complex and/or large projects requiring attention, space, or more time to complete each row/round. These are the evening-only, after-the-kids-have-gone-to-bed, no-film, quiet-I’m-counting types of project, including that amazing lace shawl or your favourite cosy blanket project. It’s the serious one that eats time on a quiet night in, when the other half is on the laptop or at band practise.

I used to use a plastic supermarket bag per project, it was free and I was recycling. 

More recently I’ve been treating myself to little project bags now and again, such as this one handmade by Etsy seller BijouxBoutique. It’s another piece of creativity in my life, and I’m helping out another crafter at the same time.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Sneaky preview..

.. of the latest colourway of my laceweight merino silk sparkle yarn - Stormy Skies. 

Dramatic!

Available soon..

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Finally... 2013 knitting!

Well it's taken 4 months, but I've finally started some knitting again! I seem to have been in a very long crochet phase - I blame it on my starting to go to knitting club...

Anyway here it is - a sock in progress, using the lovely Buffy sock yarn from Juno Fibre Arts, purchased at the KnitExpo way back in November 2010.

I'm using Wendy's Toe-Up sock pattern on a 2.5mm circular needle with a little rib added to the upper foot for a snug fit whilst maintaining the mindless knitting factor.

Hopefully they won't take too long!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

African Flower Crochet Bunting!

I've just finished my first ever length of crochet bunting!


I made the African Flower motifs without the white edging from this pattern:

I chose 2 shades of pink & 2 shades of green of Patons 4ply cotton yarn, and made 12 flowers, each using a different combination of the shades.

I've just crocheted them onto a long chain of peach cotton with a loop at each end and then pressed each flower. I love it!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

And the winner is..

The Handmade Crafts UK giveaway that I sponsored for February is now ended, and the winner is Kate from Katy Kookaburra!

Kate has chosen the gorgeous Seafoam pure cashmere laceweight yarn as her prize.

I hope we get to see the finished item too!





Kate makes and sells a variety of lovely handmade homewares in her Etsy shop including these beautiful silk pillowcases.

Have a browse and see what you can find.

Congratulations on your prize Kate!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Perran Yarn giveaway!


Only 24 hours left to get your free entry in to win you choice of one skein of Perran Yarn!

The giveaway is hosted by Handmade Crafts UK, with a different prize each month. Worth keeping an eye on.

Get your entry in now!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Meet Eggburt!

Meet Eggburt! A cute little chick who leads a double life as a snap-shut coin purse with strap, containing a creme egg for Easter. 

Crochet pattern available shortly, just as soon as I've typed it up.   :)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Craft4Crafters show

Yesterday I had an adventure with my eldest daughter. We went by train to the Westpoint Arena at Exeter to spend a day at the Craft4Crafters show!

It was a long but fabulous day, which resulted in some great new stash enhancement for my bead collection. I feel lots more crochet necklaces will be appearing soon!

My daughters also benefitted as we invested in a set of Majestix stamps, pegs, and ink pads from Card-IO

They're being well used already, so I'm sure we'll be adding more sets to the collection.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Happy Birthday Hub!

It's my hubby's birthday today. I think everyone should be allowed to have their birthday off, if it falls on a  work day. My hub had to work, but we've had a lovely family party this evening.

It's difficult knowing what gifts to get so soon after Christmas. Hub is an F1 racing fanatic, and whilst I can't yet afford to buy him tickets for Silverstone (one day!) I wanted to get him an F1-inspired surprise.

Etsy came up trumps as usual. There are various F1-themed gifts on there from UK selllers; here are some of my favourites.

This is what I bought my hub.

It's an ashtray or coin tidy with carbon fiber centre, made using a 4th gear ratio from the gearbox of a 700+ bhp Honda F1 racecar driven by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello!

It came in a black gift box with a card explaining it's history. Hub loves it, and it's a great talking point.



The Etsy shop is LedonGifts, based in Manchester.

They also sell clocks, cufflinks, keyrings, and lots of other items made from F1 car parts. 

I love this clock:





My other favourite F1-inspired gift on Etsy is from Sam Osborne.

She has created this poster with a fabulous quote from Mario Andretti.

I'd love to get this on a coffee mug Sam!


Monday, 14 January 2013

Textile beads anyone?

Sam over at Textile Delights has a fab giveaway on her blog at the moment.

Just comment, follow and link to it for a chance of winning a set of her fab new handmade textile beads!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

January Sale

As is traditional at this time of year, I'm having a huge sale over at my Etsy shop. All items are priced £10 or under and you'll find some massive discounts.


This gorgeous short scarf is crocheted using fine pure silk yarn and threaded with silk ribbons then edged with mother of pearl chips.

Perfect for weddings, parties, or would make a fabulous Valentine gift!

This is a one-off item originally priced at £29, but now on offer at just £10!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Film addict

I'm not much of a film addict usually. This year seems to be different!


Already my family & I have seen The Hobbit and Life of Pi, both of which were thoroughly entertaining and very well made.

You see I only now feel compelled to pay cinema prices to see films in 3D; the technology (not to mention the glasses!) has improved tremendously in recent years, and the results are stomach-churningly stunning.

It all began with Avatar last year, which really made me hang onto my armrests when the riders dived down from the floating mountains!

Watching the trailers at the last 2 films, we decided we may need to move into our local cinema... On the To-Watch list next is Jack the Giant Slayer (must see this as it's based on a Cornish fairy tale!), Oz, and Epic for a start...




Sunday, 6 January 2013

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Back to the dye pot!

In the run-up to Christmas every spare moment was filled with craft fairs and preparation for them. My trusty dye pot sat forlornly on the shelf, and I was itching to get back to it!

Now that we're firmly in 2013, I have time to replenish my hand-dyed Perran Yarn stocks. Only a small amount of time, but regular. Here's the first lot for this year.

I've gone for more of the deliciously soft chunky baby alpaca. It soaks up the colour beautifully, so what better shade to go for than Teal Temptation!

The only downside that I've found is that this is an incredibly difficult shade to photograph accurately! 

I've learned quite a lot about GIMP from the last few hours spent playing around with hue, saturation, brightness, and contrast settings.

This yarn also looks fabulous when knitted or crocheted; for example just 1 skein of it makes my Tassel Stitch Button Cowl pattern

If you prefer something different but not sure what, take a look at the many options here on Ravelry!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Perfect pastels

A while back (ahem, October actually!) I started a crochet project. I knew it would take a while.

The wait was worthwhile though.

The gorgeous pastel wrap is now complete, and available to buy in my Etsy shop. It looks great with jeans, and would be equally fabulous for a spring wedding!

One of those accessories that becomes a firm favourite, and gets worn everywhere.

It's a true one-off, as I can no longer get this yarn and I came up with the design myself using a pattern from my stitch directory.

The yarn deserves a little discussion. It's a hand-dyed cotton/rayon blend, hand-dyed in the U.S. and purchased before I started dyeing my own.

This yarn radiates with the most fabulous sheen, and drapes beautifully. The pastel pink/lilac/blue colourway is perfect for spring and summer.

I've made another of my button brooches as the fastener. It has a button at the front for decoration, but also another at the back so you can use it as a brooch pin to fasten the wrap in whatever arrangement you like.

Now if I really get my act together I'll write up the pattern too!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Minute by minute

I was going to show you my latest delicious teal chunky baby alpaca from the last dyepot session, but the weather had other ideas. Today was overcast and dark, with lights needed on indoors all day.

No amount of tweaking with my photo editing software would give me accurate enough results, so I abandoned the photos.


Instead here is a glorious photo of a Perranporth sunset at its best.

We are so lucky to live so close to this beach, and really should visit it a lot more than we do!

I'll be keeping an eye on the sunrise and sunset times over the next few weeks as they gradually increase to bring us more glorious sunshine hours each day.

Very soon we'll be welcoming Spring!